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Organic farm incomes competitive, says report

Date Published: 02/08/2012

No-one ever said that organic farming was an automatic route to riches, but it’s great to see the latest research that confirms it’s also not the road to ruin!

Understanding the profitability of organic farming is an important piece of the research puzzle because it answers one of the fundamental questions any farmer is going to ask themselves when considering entering (or staying in) organics. Being organic because of your ideals is admirable, but everyone has to feed their family as well.

The latest report into farm incomes from Aberystwyth University and the Organic Research Centre shows incomes from organic and non-organic businesses to be on a par, overall, even in these tougher times for a sector seen as producing premium product, as organic often is.

The picture varies across some farm types (notably LFA cattle and sheep) but the absence of significant differences in many sectors is highly encouraging.

It’s the result of pretty extensive comparison between the two approaches to farming and is well worth spending some time studying the graphs and their conclusions. It’s also underpinned by reports on the topic going back to 1995.

There’s no denying that some areas of organic food and farming are feeling the economic pressure of the times we’re living in, but there’s also a lot of buoyancy in the sector and many farmers who are committed to the long run and reaping the benefits of the way they have opted to manage their land and livestock.

We thought this was a good time to introduce a snippet of video taken at our National Organic Cereals event, held in July at Launceston Farm, Dorset. The panel for the afternoon Q&A session were asked how optimistic they were for the future of organic farming in the UK. Their answers are encouraging.